"[I]n the weeks leading up to Tuesday's inauguration, it has become clear that Scott's ambitions for Florida go far beyond economic development. The 58-year-old Naples businessman, entering elected office for the first time, is pushing for broad changes that would affect almost every aspect of life in the Sunshine State, from creating a voucher system for students to privatizing prisons to merging the state's environmental agencies with the road-building department."
The ambitious agenda contrasts with the narrowness of Scott's victory, by just a percentage point over Democrat Alex Sink. Polls before the election showed 54 percent of voters had a negative view of Scott, an astonishing number for any elected leader, let alone a newcomer."No status quo for Rick Scott".
"Indictment of Florida's political system"
Aaron Deslatte: "Last week, a statewide grand jury produced an indictment of Florida's political system when it released a 127-page interim report recommending a host of changes to the state's weak ethics laws."
Foremost among them, the panel recommended re-defining "public servant" to cover actions by private vendors tasked with performing public duties – in response to the privatization push that has exploded in recent decades – as well as criminalizing the penalties for using public office for personal gain."Push to fix ethics laws goes nowhere in Tallahassee".
Scott short on specifics
"Former health-care executive Rick Scott still uses the parlance of the business world to talk about the job he spent $73 million of his family's wealth to win."
If not for his spectacular ouster amid the nation's largest Medicare fraud investigation, Scott's rise from public housing to CEO of the nation's largest hospital chain would have made him a quintessential modern American success story. In 1997, Scott was forced out of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain he built, because of federal investigations that ultimately resulted in the company paying more than $2 billion in fines."But politics now is giving him the opportunity to write his own next chapter. When Scott takes office Tuesday amid two days of partying, speeches and parades financed by more than $2.5 million from lobbyists and corporate givers, he will inherit the tattered state economy he spent the past nine months blaming on Tallahassee 'insiders.'"
But government will be an entirely new experience for a former corporate chieftain accustomed to giving orders and having them obeyed. Florida's constitution creates a relatively weak chief executive, and the state's broad Sunshine Law often flummoxes private-sector types used to operating out of the public eye. ..."Can former CEO Rick Scott run Florida like a business?"
But while Scott has toned down on some of his campaign rhetoric — about imposing Arizona-style immigration reform, for example, and scrapping high-speed rail — he continues to pledge deep changes in how government is run. So far, though, he's been short on specifics.
Bill Cotterell warns that "Government is not a business, no matter how many politicians promise to run it like one."
"We've down this road — with disastrous results"
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Gov. Rick Scott's 'Regulatory Reform Transition Team' has proudly unveiled an ambitious plan to make the state business-friendly."
The group apparently believes gutting environmental protections and any regulation that slows a development's process will be good for business."What 1970s reveal about Florida's future".
Floridians have been down this road — with disastrous results.
The perspective of the developer-dominated advisory team was evident in a PowerPoint presentation, where a slide claimed the state Department of Environmental Protection had gone from a mission of "protection" in the 1970s to one of "suppression" in the 2000s.
Anyone who views the 1970s as the "good old days" either was not living here then or has conveniently forgotten about how indifference to the environment made a mess of the state.
The rich are different
"Concerns raised over possible conflicts between Florida's best interests, Scott's financial interests". "Do millionaires and government mix?".
Bought and paid for
"Special interests put up almost $3 million to celebrate Rick Scott as new governor". See also "Scott raises $2.8 million for inaugural events".
See you in Havana
Kingsley Guy slams "the draconian U.S. embargo of Cuba, strongly supported by self-styled conservatives in Florida's congressional delegation. These conservatives claim to abhor an overbearing government that interferes in people's lives and limits their freedom, but that's precisely what the embargo does." "Cuban embargo : Time for outrage against affront to liberty".
Thank you, Mr. Obama
"Starting On New Year's Day, Insurance Companies Will Have To Spend 80% Of Revenues From Premiums On Health Care".
After all, he did plead the 5th amendment 75 times in one day
"PolitiFact Florida unveils its Scott-O-Meter today to keep track. The Scott-O-Meter will analyze each promise -- so far we've found 56 -- and rate whether it was kept, broken or altered as part of a compromise. Those ratings will be tallied on our website, PolitiFact.com/Florida, creating an up-to-the-minute and evolving report card on Scott's administration."
Along with cuts to spending, Scott committed to slashing taxes. He promised to phase out the state corporate income tax, which generated $1.8 billion last year, and reduce property taxes directed to K-12 school funding by about $1.4 billion. He says he will make up the education funding with spending cuts. The cuts to spending and taxes are part of the recipe for Scott's biggest and most repeated promise -- to create 700,000 new private-sector jobs in seven years."PolitiFact tracking Rick Scott's promises".
Scott's jobs promise might be easy to measure, but economists say it will be difficult to determine whether Scott deserves credit. National and world economic factors might play a bigger role than Scott's economic policies, said Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida. ...
[Look for Scott to take credit on the jobs front for simply "being there"]
He pledged to fight the federal healthcare law, calling it "the biggest job killer ever in the history of this country.'' He also positioned himself to the right on immigration issues, saying he supports an Arizona-style immigration law in Florida and that he opposes measures that reward illegal immigrants with citizenship.
Scott also promised to refuse temporary federal funds that create permanent state spending. One litmus test may be the high-speed rail line linking Orlando and Tampa. The federal government offered to cover $2.39 billion of the $2.6 billion cost, and the state agreed to pay $280 million in matching money, which would make up the difference. ...
"Coming from the corporate world, you can do a lot of things by just declaring it so,'' said state Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, who will chair the House Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee in 2011. "In government, that's a little tougher.''
Fifty-six promises? Hooper asked. "That's one of his items every day we're in session,'' he said. "That's a tough lift -- I don't care who you are. But he's going to try. He told us that he was elected campaigning on these issues and that he's going to try and accomplish every one.''
We reached out to Scott's office several times to see if they had any concerns about our list of promises, or if they wanted to share promises to be considered for the Scott-O-Meter. We did not hear back.
Related from The Miami Herald editorial board: "Challenging times call for strong leadership".
"Should Florida offer to pay for any public school student to attend a private one instead?" "Incoming governor has sights set squarely on education reform".
Another blue collar day
"Fla. mechanic dies when tractor-trailer falls".
Zell corporation approves Scott's Wal-Mart choice
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Scott's first picks promising".
Public employees under attack
"Opponents of pension reform -- including state and local government employees -- point out that the Florida retirement system is one of the country's most stable (Florida was one of only four state pension funds to be fully funded before the recession) and question the motives of the reformers." "State to tackle pension reform".
Meanwhile, "Florida again among top five states for law enforcement fatalities" and Aaron Deslatte points out that Florida's state employees are already underpaid and overworked: "State workforce is lean - but who cares" ("Last year, on average, state governments had 216 workers for every 10,000 people. Florida had 117 workers. And the national payroll cost of $72-a-year per-resident was nearly double the $38 per-resident Florida paid. The next-closest was $45-per-resident in Arizona, not a state known for big-government mommy-ism.")
"One thing privately and another publicly"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Doing one thing privately then saying another thing publicly is no way to build trust in a government agency with an already tarnished image. But that is exactly what Ash Williams, who oversees investments in Florida's pension fund, has been caught doing. The decision now for Williams' new bosses — who campaigned on reforming the State Board of Administration — is whether they have the same confidence in Williams as the outgoing governor, chief financial officer and attorney general." "A matter of trust at SBA".
Lay down with dogs ...
"Tea Party Activists Angry at G.O.P. Leaders".
Pelham says Scott "misleads" Floridians
Tom Pelham is secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs: "The Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Florida’s land-planning agency, is frequently blamed for the state’s economic woes."
For example, during the recent election season, Gov.-elect Rick Scott accused DCA of "killing jobs all over the state." Numerous Republican legislative candidates blamed DCA for "onerous" growth management regulations and called for the abolishment or dismantling of the agency. Based on the campaign rhetoric, one would think DCA is responsible for the state, national and global economic collapse. With all due respect to the critics, these accusations are contrary to the facts, do a disservice to DCA and mislead the public."Hed here".
It might be because, as Carl Hiaasen wrote, "Scott is either incompetent or a lying crook".
"For former GOP chief Greer, 2010 was a lousy year".